Saturday, July 16, 2011
Next week Terence will be flying to Melbourne where he will attend some or the other course for work. So it will only be the girls and I.
Caitlyn will continue with daycare (except Mondays and Fridays when she is home with me) and in the first week of the holiday Bianca will have a netball holiday programme Monday to Thursday for 3 hours each day. Hopefully she'll not only have fun, but learn some new skills and techniques.
Bianca really enjoys netball and this morning's match was really good to watch. Bianca played GK and the teacher was really impressed - twice saying "I really like you in that position". At this age though, they rotate every week, so every week she plays a different position until she is a bit older.
Earlier this week we had parent-teacher interviews. There are a few small areas Bianca needs to work on (nothing too big or serious), but she got really great feedback. In particular she is turning out to be a really good teacher assistant. This meeting confirmed again what we have known since the start of this year - Bianca is with the right teacher. A teacher that not only believes learning should be fun, but that kids should be challenged to help them reach their potential. And Mr Forster has put a lot of focus on Glossary which really really helps with building vocabulary. So much so that Bianca often points out when she hears a glossary word in conversation or in an advert and will often insist on using a different word to describe things. Maths too. Bianca absolutely loves maths - which I'm so pleased about because maths was really a weak point when I was at school.
One thing that I've noticed about this teacher is that he has so much passion for what he does and that feeds through to the kids and I have seen kids so excited about school and learning. Even doing the weekly homework sheet is something that Bianca feels very very excited about.
And so I'm starting to feel just a little bit anxious about what next year might bring for Bianca. You see - Bianca is gifted. Especially with things like reading and spelling and vocabulary. When she started school in Auckland, Bianca was a new entrant for 6 months and then started Year 1 the start of the following year. At the start of Year 1 (age 5.5) Bianca was already reading past orange level (which was approximately age 6.5) and so along with another child in her class they started with proper spelling homework. Her teacher always knew she was ahead and insisted on providing additional challenges and making sure that Bianca was at a suitable reading level and so on.
Then we moved here.
We really like this school, but Bianca's year 2 teacher (here) was very young and straight-away put Bianca down 2 reading levels because that's where all the other kids were reading at. She simply did not have any suitable books for Bianca's reading level at that stage. Bianca was already reading at silver level (actually beyond that, but her comprehension was tested to silver level at that stage). And so at the age of 7 Bianca was at a reading level for 8.5 - 9 year old kids. At first I didn't think Bianca's teacher really understood and as far as she was concerned all the other kids read to purple level and as long as Bianca was reading then that was all that was important. I felt strongly that Bianca needed to be challenged otherwise reading would become boring. So at that stage we got Bianca tested and armed with the test results met with the teacher and insisted they allow Bianca to read at silver level and since then the teacher made a real effort and offered some extra challenges.
This year, Bianca has had a great teacher. The teacher last year was good too, but I think this year's teacher is much much more experienced. A teacher with a lot of passion for what he does. It is obvious that it is more than a job to him. It is obvious that he does what he loves the most. Bianca loves glossary, she loves math and she loves singing (Mr Forster is known as the singing teacher). Mr Forster writes his own songs and have published a children's book with a CD (You're not eating me which you can find on this website).
I can't help wondering who Bianca's teacher in year 4 will be. Not all teachers focus as much on glossary and not all teachers are doing homework sheets. For us it is really really important that Bianca will continue to be challenged and extended in class, something we felt Mr Forster has been able to do really well with her. I wonder if the school will consider moving Mr Forster to Year 4 next year...